AVweb Flash

  • This weekend, a Qantas 787-9 will fly the first-ever nonstop airline route from Australia to Europe, traveling from Perth to London. The jet will carry 236 passengers on the trip, covering 7,775 NM in about 17 hours. “It’s great news for travelers because it will make it easier to get to London,” said Qantas CEO Alan Joyce. When Qantas first established a route to London, in 1947, it took four days and nine stops.

  • The Transportation Security Administration has withdrawn its proposal to establish a security program that would have affected private and corporate aircraft operators, the agency said on Friday. The agency had proposed the “Large Aircraft Security Program” in 2008, suggesting operators of GA aircraft that weigh more than 12,500 pounds should be required to implement security programs, vet their crews and check passengers against federal watch lists.

  • Although electric airplanes still inhabit a regulatory backwater, Slovenian-based Pipistrel Aircraft is boosting its production of battery-powered trainers and reports a 50-50 split between gasoline and electric aircraft. In this exclusive podcast, the company told AVweb this week that a new production line is building five to six Alpha Electro trainers per month.

  • The cargo door of an Antonov An-12, a Soviet-era cargo plane, loaded with nine metric tons of gold broke open as the aircraft took off from Yakutsk in East Siberia. The aircraft’s door apparently gave way and broke off due to the weight shifting in the cargo hold. Gold alloy bars were then strewn across the runway and on the airport property.

  • Aerospace has always been a boom-bust business, but following the economic downturn of 2008, the robust upswing has proven elusive, primarily because there are simply too many airplanes available for too few buyers. Says Citi aerospace analyst Jonathan Raviv, this sluggish recovery has earned a name: the lost decade. In this exclusive podcast, AVweb spoke with Raviv about his market findings.

  • A low-flying plane over an Ohio high school caused concern Thursday afternoon, according to Cincinnati news station WLWT. “After an exhaustive investigation, we determined there is no evidence of any threat or plan to attack any person or school,” Hamilton Police Chief Craig Bucheit said in a tweet. “HPD is working with Federal Aviation Administration officials to determine what, if any, violation of Federal Aviation Regulations occurred."

  • The NTSB issued a Safety Alert on Friday reminding general aviation pilots they should calculate weight and balance before every flight. Between 2008 and 2016, the board said, incorrect or neglected performance calculations were cited as a probable cause in 136 GA accident reports. In one-third of those accidents, people died. The effects of weather also should be considered, the NTSB says.

  • The FAA said Friday that it's restricting helicopter operators from offering so-called doors-off tours unless the passengers are equipped with quick-release harnesses. The announcement came five days after five people died when a tour helicopter autorotated into New York's East River and rolled over. Although the pilot escaped, five passengers apparently drowned because they couldn't release harnesses intended to keep them secure with open doors.

  • Florence “Shutsy” Reynolds of Connellsville, Penn., passed away Thursday, March 15, 2018, at home. She was 95. She took a Civilian Pilot Training Program at her local airport in Connellsville and completed it, receiving her pilot’s certificate at the end. According to the “Fly Girls the Series” blog, “Reynolds was required to sign a document promising that she would join the aviation military service in case of war. ‘That was a big joke at the airport that day … But I signed it. By damn I joined later on.’”

  • Deon Mitton sent us this beautiful shot of a Kodiak and a Beaver in formation taking a fun flight. This amazing photo happened at the 2017 Sun ‘n Fun Seaplane fly-in in Tavares, near Orlando FL. Deon described the scene:

    “Late afternoon - with both seaplanes at the lake, we decided it's time to go and play and get some aerial shots. Shown here, in this late afternoon shot, are Michael Marco, with his restored DeHavilland Beaver, and Mark Brown, chief demo pilot for Quest Aircraft, flying the Quest Aircraft Kodiak 100. I am in a Jones Brothers 185 on straight floats. We took off, played a bit over the lakes and rivers close to Tavares, Fla. It's always so great to fly with friends. It's what makes aviation so special, and the view of these two, beautiful aircraft in the air was very special.”

    Who is ready for Sun ‘n Fun?!

  • Two crew members were killed when an F/A-18F Super Hornet crashed into the sea off the coast of Key West on Wednesday afternoon, military officials have confirmed. The aircraft, which was based at Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia, was on approach, about a mile from the runway at Boca Chica Field, at about 4:30 p.m., after completing a training mission. A local resident, Barbie Wilson, told Military.com she had stopped to watch the F/A-18 flying overhead. "Literally, the wings went vertical, and there was a fireball, and it just literally dropped out of the sky," Wilson said.

  • Zipping across the North Pole to connect city pairs in the eastern and western hemispheres happens multiple times a day. But now Norwegian Air Argentina has applied for traffic rights from Buenos Aires to Perth, Western Australia, a 7,839-mile jaunt that will take commercial airline travelers directly over the South Pole. The South American arm of the Oslo-based airline will then connect with Singapore after a Perth refueling stop.

  • As Western democracies ramp up their rhetoric against Russia, White House officials said Thursday that Russia has hacked or at least targeted U.S. infrastructure, including aviation systems. The Washington Post reported Thursday that these new hacking claims are the strongest condemnation yet of claimed Russian attempts to erode Western values and technical infrastructure.

  • Floyd Carter Sr., one of the last Tuskegee Airmen, decorated veteran of three wars and NYPD officer, died Thursday, March 8, 2018. He was 95. Carter was given the Congressional Gold Medal by President Bush for breaking the color barrier in Tuskegee. Carter rose to the rank of Air Force lieutenant colonel years after joining the group of African-American pilots at Tuskegee University.

  • The unblinking eye of a video camera caught the dramatic crash landing of a Cessna 210N at Florida’s Kissimmee Airport this week. Although the airplane touched down on a narrow, tree-lined Martin Luther King Boulevard Tuesday afternoon, neither the pilot nor his passenger were seriously injured, according to Kissimmee police.

  • Two complaints about FBO pricing and practices that AOPA filed with the FAA last August have completed the “reply and response” phase and now will be studied by the FAA, AOPA said on Wednesday. The complaints address “egregious” fees and restricted airport access imposed by FBOs at Asheville Regional Airport, in North Carolina, and at Key West International Airport, in Florida. AOPA believes those airports and FBOs have failed to fulfill federal grant obligations to protect the airport for public use.

  • Boeing has produced 10,000 copies of the 737, setting a world record for the most-produced model of a commercial jet aircraft ever, the company said this week. Guinness World Records has certified the record. The aircraft first flew in 1967, and has been continuously revised and updated. It is operated by more than 500 airlines, and flies to destinations in 190 countries.

  • Owners of vintage Cessna Skyhawks now have another option for glass upgrades and an autopilot. Dynon Avionics announced today that the FAA gave the SkyView HDX integrated avionics suite the nod for aftermarket installations in a wide variety of 172 models, which also includes removing the primary flight instruments and the vacuum pump.

  • An effort to change the current pilot certification rules through legislation has stalled, but an “administrative fix” could still come to pass, according to a report this week in Roll Call, a Capitol Hill news site. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, said he will drop a provision about pilot training from the FAA authorization bill, which is expected to be addressed this summer.

  • With so many companies working on electric-powered VTOLs and other airplanes of the future, it may seem odd that NASA is experimenting with what is essentially a big RC model of a Cub. Yet the recent tests conducted at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in California are “leading a critical phase for UAS integration into the National Airspace System, by educating engineers and validating key technologies that will directly apply to the next generation of large-scale unmanned vehicles,” NASA said.

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